In Nutrition, Videos

September 21, 2009

Video Article

Your athlete is a 26-year-old male, 195 lb. and 5’10”, with 8 percent body fat. He’s competing in the CrossFit Games.

You need to feed him—but what and when?

In this clip from a CrossFit Nutrition Cert with Robb Wolf, participants are asked to formulate a meal plan for an elite athlete, taking into consideration a host of different factors. The goal: fuelling the athlete for optimal performance.

When an athlete is in the middle of a challenging and gruelling competition, Wolf recommends paying less attention to precise Zone blocks, focusing instead on providing foods the athlete digests well and is comfortable with. Post-WOD, the competitor is going to need far more carbs than normal. Controlling blood-sugar levels while replenishing muscle glycogen is key.

Perhaps the most important aspect is going into the event with a tested plan, so pack a cooler full of nutritious foods the athlete has successfully used for recovery in trials prior to the event. Game day is no time to experiment with new food choices.

Robb Wolf is the co-owner and founder of CrossFit NorCal. He offers nutrition seminars all over North America.

Video by Again Faster.

6min 54sec

Additional reading: Zone on the Rocks: Fueling Performance by Rob Miller, published Nov. 1, 2007.

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15 Comments on “Case Studies in Nutrition: The CrossFit Gamer”

1

wrote …

Great video with practical information.
I would like to see more nutrition videos.

2

wrote …

Hi.
I just wonder. All this nutrition is really good, and I also like it as a part of a good life style!

But if a part of CrossFit is always to be ready for the unknown, then why worry so much about food before a competition? Not that I think we should not worry - but in real life you never know what food is available for you! Even if I am drunk or have a hangover, or haven eaten for some days my goal with training is just to perform my best... not knowing what will come!

3

wrote …

By finding what works for you, food wise, you are PREPARING for the unknown. To disregard what you eat before the games is akin to shooting yourself in the foot prior to the first wod.

4

replied to comment from Kaspar Aleks Jensen

Kaspar-
This is the difference between fitness and sport. In sport you try to control as many of the variables as you can to optimize your chance at at winning at least that's how I tackled the sports I've participated in!

The reality is that even among our police/mil/fire folks who literally face "the unknown and unknowable" they try to optimize every parameter of their training they can tinker with. Detail orientation and a desire to tinker produces remarkable results.

5

wrote …

I try to optimize sleep, nutrition, stress levels as much as possible. Life, however, inevitably gets in the way for myself and for every other human being. I sometimes train after getting only 3 hours of sleep or the day after an imprudent cheat meal.

In such situations you should definitely rise to the occasion and not be a pansy. That's where the unknown and unknowable aspect comes in.

Actively choosing harmful nutrition or recovery habits in order to prepare for the unknown is unnecessary and foolish. It's especially stupid prior to an event such as the CrossFit Games where years' worth of training and sacrifice are measured in two days of hell.

6

wrote …

Robb is bang on about competition days. I brought a ton of food to the Crossfit Ontario Challenge but the only thing I had an appetite for was apple sauce, dried fruit and some nuts. I literally ate zero dense protein. I actually wouldn't have cared if I ate a single thing. My appetite was nowhere to be found. Surprisingly a did well and I think the key really was glycogen stores and getting enough water. That right there got me through...barely

7

wrote …

I would say to lighten the load of solid meals (block wise) to about half of what a normal daily intake (to keep insuline as steady as possible and avoid bonking) and add a protein shake with dextrose post workout for each wod. I like the applesauce and yams but I think I'd still consumer whey and a malto-dex combo as well. My concern would be keeping the glycogen stores up with the amount of wods in a day with this example video.
This is a great topic

8

wrote …

Informative article... I am curious about the Yam:Applesauce combination... My family practitioner cautioned me against eating Yams... He warned me that they are a phyto estrogen which could cause a lowered testosterone level... Is there anyone who can confirm or debunk this allegation...

9

replied to comment from George Madgwick

George,

Check this link out. It should clear up the issue:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-wildyam.html

10

wrote …

I think the exclusive use of glucose for PWO recovery is misplaced in this example. We generally want to minimize hepatic glycogen repletion (restoring glycogen levels in the liver) to minimize fat gain and some other metabolic issues BUT in a multi-event day like this it's important to cover all the bases. In this case we are looking not only at a muscular glycogen repletion but also liver glycogen so we can manage energy needs as precisely as we can. The event will be tough enough, low blood sugar would be a real weenie-shrinker. All that considered some frucotose sources (fruit, honey, agave nectar) can be quite helpful,

Shakes are certainly fair game here and possibly the preferred recovery method. I like the yam/applesauce combo because of the balance between glucose and fructose and it's pretty damn yummy. this is NOT the same variety that provides the substrate for DHEA and other synthetic androgens. You will not need a bra if you eat yams and sweet potatoes.

Possibly interesting story:
The NorCal team took 3rd place in the affiliate cup, but their first WOD looked like ass. Everyone was slow, non-technical and definitely NOT performing up to standards. They did "ok" on the stadium WOD and then wandered up to our tent to recover. Everyone looked blown out. Blank stares, not talking and just lounging around. I asked everyone if they had eaten or drank anything. Nope. No one had any appetite. I then asked when the last time everyone went pee. No one could remember. Not even that morning. So I told them they needed to start up-ending water bottles and they had 45 min to go pee 3 times. Or I would MAD. Folks started drinking, eventually started peeing and within 45 min everyone was starving, energetic and feeling great. Every member of the team was mild-moderately dehydrated BEFORE the first event. We train in a hotter, drier area than Aromas but we still showed up un-prepared in the hydration issue. We managed to fix that issue but I cannot tell you how many people we saw and talked to who gave game day fueling and hydration not a moments thought. So much work in the gym, so little preparation and planning in the kitchen.

11

wrote …

Yeah. That's funny about the water. It would have seemed that most people would have wanted to drink about 1.5 gallons if water throughout that days example....maybe even more with 5 events. Then again I drink like a fish. Also I'd probably add much more fruits throughout the day.
If it were me the week leading to it would be perfectly proportioned and the night before I'd carb load and with anxiety getting in the way of solid and sound sleep I i would prob have some small pro-carb-fat throughout the night as well
Robb... Can you highlight how different foods restore glycogen not just the muscles but liver?

12

wrote …

Great article and comments. Question though ... my skin does not like whey protein, at least those that I've tried. And it's not a complexion issues. My hands will be covered in hideous, scratch my skin off eczema in sometimes as little as a couple of hours after certain dairy. What "shake-able" protein could act as a substitute?

13

wrote …

Yeah. That's funny about the water. It would have seemed that most people would have wanted to drink about 1.5 gallons if water throughout that days example....maybe even more with 5 events. Then again I drink like a fish. Also I'd probably add much more fruits throughout the day.
If it were me the week leading to it would be perfectly proportioned and the night before I'd carb load and with anxiety getting in the way of solid and sound sleep I i would prob have some small pro-carb-fat throughout the night as well
Robb... Can you highlight how different foods restore glycogen not just the muscles but liver?

14

wrote …

Amy-
This is a common issue with Dairy. Dairy, although generally regarded as a protein, releases an inordinate amount of insulin, and very little glucagon. That's issue #1. Issue 2 is that dairy releases the following: IGF (insulin like growht factor) EGF (Epithelial growth factor...of particular note to your skin condition) and a host of other liver derived growth factors. Dairy is a potent growth promoter. It has growth properties above and beyond the caloric content of the protein, carbs and fat. This is not opinion, but fact. This is why it works like magic for the GOMAD program. It is amazing when used in conjunction with CrossFit FootBall but I view it as a tool to be used at the right time, for the right reasons. check out this blog post for some things to think about along this line:
http://robbwolf.com/?p=634

So, this is a long way of saying liquid protein sources may not be your best option. You might not get this response with egg protein but If I were your coach I'd need a REALLY convincing reason to put this type of food into the mix. I'd see if we can get the levels of performance you seek without liquid foods.

Jeff-
In short glucose tends to refill muscle glycogen, fructose hits liver glycogen. From there you need to know what foods have what sugars in them...and in what ratios:
http://www.thepaleodiet.com/nutritional_tools/fruits_table.html

Prof. Cordain, in addition to his 150 peer reviewed articles, has tackled a number of peripheral issues like this and acid base balance. I know I sound like a paleo-shill, but if one familiarizes oneself with the material at www.thepaleodiet.com one is ready to understand nutrition as it relates to all aspects of Performance, Health and Longevity.

15

wrote …

I have a question about fat intake when you are doing the 50% carb POW and cutting your carb intake in half on the zone. I know the Zone says you should multiply fat blocks by 3-5x the amount when your lean (10% or under) to keep up performance. Do you still do this when your cutting carbs in half and doubling fat intake like you and Pat Sherwood do? Ex. If I have a 5F is it really 15F-25F?

I'm 5'10", 165lbs, 10-12% bf. I calculated my block amount to be 17 blocks, but that seems somewhat high since you/Pat are on 16 blocks and are bigger than me. What do you think? I've been zone/paleo for over 1 month now (Paleo for about 6 months) and I'm pretty lean. I hardly have a cheat meal. I'm finding my performance/energy is decreasing a bit.

Any suggestions?

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